The Disappearance of History

C. A. J. Coady

in Testimony

Published in print October 1994 | ISBN: 9780198235514
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597220 | DOI:
The Disappearance of History

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The puzzle addressed in this chapter is most explicitly raised by Laplace, though foreshadowed by Locke, and is concerned with the supposed diminution in probative force of testimony that has passed through too many hands (or tongues). Laplace suggests that lengthy transmission chains must ‘enfeeble’ the probability of historical facts, but this disappearance of history thesis (DOHT) has some very counter‐intuitive consequences. It argues against various forms of the DOHT by exploring the diverse types of testimony chains available in written and oral traditions.

Keywords: consolidation; correction; credibility ratios; hearsay; Laplace; Locke; oral tradition; probability; probity; transmission; written tradition

Chapter.  12616 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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